Wednesday, February 24, 2021
This is an older stand of very large deciduous trees that is pretty open. I have a general area where I have seen the owl, but it always flies off before I’m even close to it.
Today, I got in this general area and once again I saw the owl fly off in the distance. I stopped and watched it land, then it immediately flew off again. I continued to watch and lost sight of the owl behind some trees way in the distance. I thought the owl must have landed in another tree or it continued flying directly away from me which was unlikely because it would have had to abruptly change course otherwise I should have seen it flying past the trees in the distance.
I started walking to the tree that I originally saw the owl fly from when out of the corner of my eye I saw an owl flying the other way. This was the opposite direction the first owl flew. It seemed to me that this was another owl based upon where it flew from which I don’t believe was the area where I lost sight of the first owl.
I continued walking toward the tree where I saw the first owl fly from when I noticed a large cavity in another large tree in the area where I lost sight of the first owl. That would explain why I didn’t see it continue flying after it got behind some other trees blocking my view. I glassed the cavity and could see a couple owl feathers inside.
I took a few photos from different angles with my long lens. The tree at the cavity is at least 2 feet in diameter. What I can’t tell is if the cavity drops down toward the back and a female owl could be on the nest or if the nest is the actual area that can be seen in the photos. If that’s the case I don’t see any eggs or an owl. One of the photos I counted six feather with the possibility of one more.
Based upon what I saw today was if there was only one owl it wasn’t on the nest when I first saw it and if there was two owls then the first owl probably went inside the cavity and the second owl was probably the male that flew from another tree.
Now that I have a possible nest site I don’t need to go back for awhile.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
Saturday, February 6, 2021
The video from 02-01-21...
On Monday, 02-01-21, I went back into the woods where I’ve seen 4 different owls… two Great Horned Owls and two Barred Owls.
This video is of the Barred Owl that I’ve photographed several times in the past. There’s another Barred Owl about a quarter mile away that isn’t so cooperative.
This Barred Owl was actively hunting when I found it on my way way back from my furthest point on my owl walk. The owl wasn’t in the tree when I walked by the first time.
When I found it in the tree it was only about 10 yards away. I got my camera out of my backpack and attached my 500 mm lens and took some handheld shots before setting up my tripod.
Once I got my tripod set-up I began taking some video, then I walked away from the camera to see if there were any others good angles to get some photos. I watched the owl as it was intently listening to a vole or other rodent on the ground under the snow. It started to fly to the ground, but aborted its mission. It flew back into another tree a couple more yards closer to me. Now I was only about 8 yards away.
So now I couldn’t get the complete owl in the frame because he was so close. The owl snapped its head to its right and appeared it was listening to something in the distance. Then it flew 30 to 40 yards away and landed in the snow and I’m sure searching for his meal in the snow with its feet. The owl flew back up, but this time it didn’t appear it was successful. It flew to another tree only a few feet off the ground, but now it was downhill of me.
I walked over with my camera on the tripod, but now I was shooting down hill from the side of a steep snow covered bank. I lower my tripod to about 3 1/2 feet to get the best angle without too many branches obstructing the view of the owl. I had to kneel in the snow to view the back of the camera. There was no way I could stay like that for very long before I had to stand back up. Now I had to keep bending over to view the back of the camera.
I took several video clips of the owl because it was still actively hunting hoping it would fly and get a vole.
Because I’ve spent so much time around this owl and the female Great Horned Owl I’m always fascinated watching their behaviors. One such behavior is when they become very alert to possible dangers from above they will pull their feathers close to their body while elongating their body to make them less visible. This time it was with a crow flying overhead and it wasn’t making any sounds I could hear. The last time I saw this behavior with this owl wasn’t too long ago when it was relaxed, but it heard an eagle fly overhead behind it. The owl elongate its body and actually stepped around on the branch 180 degrees and followed the eagle until it passed. I’ve also witness this with the female Great Horned Owl.
I spent about an hour and a half watching the owl from the side of the bank before I decided to finally pack it up because it looked like the owl wasn’t going to move around anymore. Recently, I spent over three hours with it and it was content to keep me company until it was completely dark outside.
When I walked back to my backpack to put my camera gear away I saw a vole or some small rodent running across the top of the snow where the Barred Owl was initially looking for a meal. I almost felt like yelling to the owl, “Over here!”
Friday, February 5, 2021
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
“Hoot”… the female Great Horned Owl Update
Since I found “Hoot” the female Great Horned Owl yesterday after 39 days I went back to the general area on snowshoes today. The area wasn’t the typical oak and maple trees where I would expect to find an owl, but there were a few conifers.
I glassed a few conifers, then one spruce tree in the distance caught my attention. I put my binoculars to my eyes and saw “Hoot” hiding behind some spruce needles and branches. I got out my camera, long lens and tripod from my backpack and took a couple shots.
Those two shots were going to be the best shots I would get today. The area where I found her was within 50 yards of where I found her yesterday.
Now I know for certain that’s she’s not sitting on any nest right now. Will she be soon…I have no idea. The female won’t nest every year.
Now that I know her new area I’ll have to go back later on and find her again, then sit and watch her from a distance to see what she does after she wakes up. I’m not planning to do it tonight although I may change my mind.
Her right eye is closed so I’m sure she has been roosting there since early this morning. I found her shortly after 1200 hrs.
I cropped this image a little but I was a fairly good distance from her. I was using my 500mm lens with my 1.4x teleconverter, so a 700mm shot.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
I initially thought maybe she was hunting, but the way she was positioned on the branch wasn’t a typical perch for an unobstructed view and flight to grab a rodent on the ground for something to eat. This is based upon my prior observations of her.
The open marsh was where I was standing to get the closer photo of her. My thoughts are if she would have been hunting for food she would have been facing the direction toward me and in a tree closer to the edge of the marsh because there were other trees blocking her path to the ground. But again, I’m no owl!
I have read in the past, “ Females can incubate eggs in temperatures as low as -35 Degrees F ( -31 C) and eggs have been known to survive at -25 F (-31 C) for up to 20 minutes while the female takes a break from incubation duties!” The temperatures yesterday were fairly mild going from around 18 to 23 F.
Based upon finding her in this “newer” area I believe she is on a nest somewhere in the general area where I saw her.
Monday, February 1, 2021
Squirrels Nest... before I found the Barred Owl I thought the only picture I would get today would be this squirrel nest. While looking for the owls I saw a squirrel with what I initially thought was a small dead rodent in its mouth. It was actually some leaves and grass that the squirrel didn't want to share with me. He was still adding to his nest. I watched as he ran up to this nest and went inside through the hole on the right. I waited to see if he would come back out so I could get a picture of him. When he didn't come back out I continued looking for the owls, but I made a stop on my way back.